More eligible foreign visitors can use automated immigration clearance lanes in S'pore: ICA

ICA said it aims to make automated clearance the norm.

Matthias Ang | April 25, 2023, 04:48 PM

Eligible foreign visitors, including those visiting Singapore for the first time, can use automated lanes for immigration clearance without the need for prior enrolment, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in a press release.

This means that visitors from 51 countries and territories are now eligible to use the lanes, under the Automated Clearance Initiative (ACI) by ICA.

ACI covers 130 lanes at Changi Airport and 40 lanes at the land checkpoints

ICA added that the ACI initially covered 16 countries and territories when it was first rolled out in May 2022.

In addition, Holders of the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) can now also use the automated lanes under the ACI.

Deployment of the ACI has also expanded to 130 automated lanes at Changi Airport and 40 automated lanes at the land checkpoints.

Thus far, over four million foreign visitors have cleared immigration through the ACI, and been enrolled in the process, ICA highlighted.

What does the process for the automated lanes entail?

All eligible foreign visitors will first have to submit their SG Arrival Card within three days prior to the date of their arrival in Singapore, and submission is free of charge.

Upon arrival in Singapore, they can proceed to the automated lanes for immigration clearance using their biometrics.

Their biometrics (iris, facial and fingerprint images) are then automatically enrolled during the arrival clearance process, if they are not already enrolled during a previous trip to Singapore.

Information on their enrolment is included in the electronic visit pass, which will be emailed to them after immigration clearance.

These enrolled foreign visitors will then be able to use any automated lane during departure and on subsequent visits to Singapore.

ICA aiming to make automated clearance the norm

ICA added that it was aiming to make automated immigration clearance the norm at checkpoints.

It added that automated immigration lanes leverage multi-modal biometric scanning technology to provide travellers with a more secure, efficient, and seamless immigration clearance experience.

ICA also expects 95 per cent of all arrivals at Changi Airport to be cleared through the automated lanes by the first quarter of 2024.

ICA elaborated that it also expects the volume of travellers to reach 300 million annually by 2025.

The use of automated lanes will therefore allow ICA to increase its clearance capacity as these lanes take up less physical space and require less manpower than manual counters.

Correspondingly, the job roles of ICA officers will be enhanced, as ICA moves away from manual clearance, with staff being upskilled to perform profiling, assessment, and investigative work, beyond immigration counter duties.

Top photo via ICA Facebook